REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
Lizzie Pharamond spends her time trying out new recipes, taking care of her son and putting up with her increasingly distant husband, Tom. She's also a member of the Christmas Pudding Circle, who meet from August until Christmas in their small village of Middlemoss.
When Jasper is rushed to hospital with meningitis, Tom takes his time going to visit his son. Nick, on the other hand, races across Europe to get to the hospital as soon as possible. When Tom does eventually arrive, he finds Lizzie being comforted by Nick and instead of asking how his son is, demands to know what his cousin is doing there. It's then that Lizzie realises it's time to put her miserable marriage behind her.
Tom spends as little time with her and Jasper as possible. He insinuates that Jasper is Nick's son rather than his own and when Tom loses his temper and Lizzie ends up with bruising to her face, she turns to her best-friend Annie. She tells Annie that as soon as Jasper leaves for university she's going to have to move out of her cottage and away from Tom to go and find somewhere new to start again. So far, Tom hasn't told Jasper of his suspicions about his parentage, but she knows it's only a matter of time and can't bear the thought of Jasper having to deal with such an accusation.
Nick, is a travel writer and sends Lizzie postcards with recipes he's discovered from around the world. Tom is irritated that she values her collection of postcards and doubts that it's the recipes that mean so much to her. When Nick visits the cottage and finds Lizzie with a bruised face, she insists it was an accident. He passes her a bill to give to Tom for a meal he apparently didn't pay for at Nick's, French wife's restaurant in London. Lizzie has suspected that Tom is seeing another woman, but had always assumed it was someone closer to their home in Middlemoss. Unfortunately, before Lizzie has a chance to do anything, matters are taken out of her hands.
I began reading The Magic of Christmas and couldn't imagine why the characters seemed so familiar, then I remembered that this is a reworking of Trisha's book, Sweet Nothings. I have to admit that I enjoyed revisiting these characters. Nick Pharamond is exactly what you want in a romantic hero and Lizzie is a fighter, despite everything that's thrown at her.
If you haven't read Sweet Nothings, and even if you have, this is an enjoyable book and one that's worth reading.